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‘She was screaming’: Neighbor describes horrific murder-suicide

September 22, 2017 GMT

FOXBORO -- A father with a lengthy criminal history, including a recent arrest for illegal possession of a gun, shot and killed his 6-year-old son and apparently tried to set the child’s Foxboro home on fire before fatally shooting himself late last night, officials said.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said Foxboro police received a call for what they initially thought was a medical emergency last night at 11:30 p.m.

“First-responders came to the scene and they located 6-year-old Anthony Scaccia, suffering from a single gunshot wound,” Morrissey said during a press briefing at Foxboro police headquarters this morning. “He was taken to Norwood hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

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Morrissey said first responders found William Scaccia Jr., 49, identified as Anthony’s father, dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

A neighbor today described last night’s horrifying scene.

“The grandmother came over, she was a mess, she was screaming for help,” said Richard Shain, 30, who lives next door with his 4-year-old daughter. “She came to the door and explained to me there was just a fire in her house, that the grandson was up in the house, she didn’t know if he was still alive, but to come help get him out of the house because there had just been a fire.

“I got in there and it reeked like gas, there was gasoline all over the upstairs. When I walked up to the top of the stairs, (Anthony) was lying at the top of the stairs, he was purple. I checked his pulse and I went back downstairs and I called 911.”

Anthony’s grandmother, Shain said, was in “a state of panic.”

“She couldn’t see, she couldn’t find her glasses, she couldn’t find her daughter’s number,” he said. “She informed me his dad was someplace around, she said he was the one who had lit the fire, she said he was the one who had hurt the kid. The grandmother and I knew right away (Anthony) was not coming back. ... I didn’t know what I was walking into, I was going in hoping he was all right but once I looked at the body and looked at all at the blood around him, you could tell he was bleeding pretty profusely. You could tell he wasn’t going to make it, you could tell by looking at him. It’s sad, man.”

Shain said he never saw the body of the father, but was told he had killed himself in one of the bedrooms inside the house.

“They have recovered a weapon and shell casings. The scene is being processed as we speak,” Morrissey told reporters at the press conference this morning. “There is also some evidence that an accelerant was spread through parts of the house in the hallway area in the upstairs. An occupant of the house saw the blaze and extinguished the blaze, before substantial damage to the house.”

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The weapon used was a hand gun, Morrissey said, and a note was found, believed to be written by William Scaccia, that led police to determine the crime was a murder-suicide.

Foxboro Police Chief William Baker said William Scaccia was not believed to be living at the family home on East Street and it is unclear how he gained access to the house where Anthony lived with his mother and grandmother. Morrissey declined to comment on the mother’s whereabouts last night other than to say she is employed.

Shain said William Scaccia lived at the home until a few months ago, and he had frequently seen and interacted with him, describing him as “socially awkward.”

“He was still here every couple of days working with the car outside, playing with his kid outside,” said Shain, who is the father of a 4-year-old. “I’ve had my daughter play with them a couple of times. It’s scary, it makes me think twice. You’d never think someone right next door could be even capable of that.

“(Anthony) seemed like a nice kid, I mean you could tell his dad was very short-tempered with him but I never heard him hitting the kid or yelling at the kid too much. I never saw any violence or anything.”

Baker said Foxboro police have a “lengthy” history with Scaccia, which led to the chief denying him a license to carry a pistol. Scaccia appealed the ruling, which was upheld by a Wrentham District Court judge earlier this month.

Scaccia was arrested last week, on Sept. 16, for assault and gun charges, Baker said. It is unclear whether bail had been sought at his court appearance.

“The recent charges stemmed from a disturbance in which there was an allegation of an assault on another resident of Foxboro,” Baker said. “And then subsequently there was a conflict with another person, with whom he had a domestic relationship, who reported he had been in possession of a gun, knowing he had been denied his license to carry, which led us to another house where we seized a gun and arrested him.”

Baker said he was unaware of any additional issues involving Scaccia and his family over the past several days, but noted a history of restraining orders and family and domestic relationships that were “complicated.” He said Scaccia had at least a “half-dozen” incidents involving police that Baker cited in denying his pistol permit application, and those did not include the two most recent arrests.

Officials did not comment on whether the family had any previous involvement with the Department of Children and Families. They said it is unclear where Scaccia had been staying since his recent arrest.